My Favourite Reads of 2017
December is a tricky time for bookbloggers. We spend all year reading and enthusing about all the great books we have had the opportunity to read but come December many of us feel the need to create a list of favourites.
The following ten titles are the books I enjoyed most this year. Not all were published in 2017 but it is WHEN I read them that counts (my blog so my rules).
There are some titles in this list which I did not actually “read” I listened to them through Audible.co.uk
The “talking book” experience has been brilliant for me over the last six months. A job change meant I spend 4 to 5 hours driving each day so my reading time became listening time. It is only right that my list includes books I enjoyed because of the skill of a narrator as well as for the talent of the story-teller.
No ten to one countdown, these titles are equally ranked as my favourite books of 2017
Perfect Prey – Helen Fields
There could easily have been two books by Helen Fields in my list as I really enjoyed her debut novel Perfect Remains too. These dark crime thrillers introduced Luc Callanach to the streets of Edinburgh and he has to take on some extremely disturbing cases as he struggles to integrate into life within Police Scotland. Chilling, Twisty and unmissable.
Block 46 –Johana Gustawsson
First of the audiobooks in my list. I was captivated by this tale which takes the reader from WW2 concentration camps to present day and shows how a serial killer was able to stay hidden for decades. Two narrators on the audiobook really highlighted the “then” and “now” side to Block 46 and the story was outstanding.
Blackwater – GJ Moffat
Sometimes you just pick up a book and get lost in the story. That is exactly what happened to me when I started Black Water. I flew through the chapters with little awareness of what was going on around me When I finally reached the end I had the “slump” of knowing the next book would just not match the captivation levels I had just experienced.
Say Nothing – Brad Parks
All I ask from any book I read is that I am entertained. Brad Parks clearly got the memo! Say Nothing was another book I just did not want to put down. A kidnap story I had initially thought but the central character was also a judge so Say Nothing had the added bonus of courtroom and legal drama too. One of the easiest decisions I had all year was to call this as a 5 star read.
Another audiobook and another example of brilliant storytelling. Whiteout sees the return of Jonasson’s popular Icelandic cop Ari Thor What made Whiteout special for me was the way the author took the smallest cast of possible suspects and made a brilliant “whodunnit” murder mystery. I have compared Ragnar Jonasson’s works to that of Agatha Christie in the past…Whiteout only reaffirms my assertion.
The Damselfly – SJI Holliday
Nobody captures characters like Susi Holliday. She could write about two strangers doing their shopping and make it feel like you had known these people all your life. The Damselfly was the third book in the Banktoun series and it felt like I was returning to a place I had lived in the past. Characters I loved from earlier books made cameo appearances (always appreciated) but the murder story which dominates events was superbly pitched and had me hooked.
The Fourth Monkey – JD Barker
Another of the darker titles on the 2017 list. This was disturbing, graphic, darkly comic, superbly written and (more than once) utterly gobsmacking. A book which just grabs you from page 1 and does not relent until you reach the last page.
The Beauty of Murder – AK Benedict
The audiobook of The Beauty of Murder was recommended to me by JS Law (author of The Dark Beneath). Boy did he call that right! The Beauty of Murder is a serial killer story in which the killer has the ability to travel through time. Loved that twist and it gave The Beauty of Murder an edge which most books simply didn’t have. The time travel is not just a clever gimmick though, this is a wonderfully compassionate and clever story. With much of the action taking place in and around Cambridge University (with a Philosophy Lecturer as a lead character) it throws up some interesting discussion points too. Hugely enjoyable but with one of the saddest moments of my reading year too…
Jefferson Winter is a profiler and he is called to give his thoughts on an unusual series of murders – each occurring on the same day year after year. Another book which simply had me hooked from the initial premise and the story had me captivated right to the end. I enjoy the vast majority of books I read but some stories have an extra something which keeps me thinking about them (remembering them) weeks after I have finished reading and moved on to new books. The Quiet Man had that extra edge – loved it at the time and kept thinking about it. Had to be included in the “favourites” list.
If you follow me on Twitter you will know that my lovely blogger pal Kate (Bibliophile Book Club) and I have been raving about In The Still since it released earlier in 2017 – with good reason.
In The Stil introduced Ali Dalglish – a feisty and formidable Scot who was formerly one of the top forensic pathologist and criminal psychologists in the UK. Ali has a lot of strings to her bow and she has been one of the stand-out characters for me this year.
Jacqueline Chadwick’s books are slick and powerful and her depiction of crime scenes and the investigations incredibly detailed and considered. In The Still was pure reading joy – it was followed up by Briefly Maiden (which could easily have made the list too). If you have yet to discover Jacqueline Chadwick’s books then that should be your 2018 New Year Resolution – if you like a bit of gritty noir.
So there they are – 10 of the best. I read some amazing books this year and there are several which narrowly missed out on inclusion in this list.
Authors rely upon reader reviews and I would urge anyone that reads a book today, tomorrow or at any stage in the future to consider leaving a review for the author. You don’t need to blog about it, you don’t need to write screeds of analysis – just a single line can make all the difference. Please remember “Wheaton’s Law” and if you cannot be kind then simply try the line “not for me”. If you loved a book then tell everyone – chances are someone else will love it too.
To ALL the authors – I love your work…thank you.
To the publishers and authors who made it possible for me to continue blogging for another year, I am so very grateful for your trust in me.
And for my fellow bloggers who share my reviews and keep me entertained every single day – you guys rock.